Suicide Risk: Women and Girls

Suicide Risk: Women and Girls

Suicide is one of the most serious risks related to substance use and mental health disorders. Here in Los Angeles County, males die by suicide more often than females, but females are consistently treated more often for suicide attempts and depression. Suicide rates among women were highest among white women, who had a suicide rate two times higher than Black women and three times higher than Latinas. Over half of the female suicides in L.A. County were among women 45 years and older.

Contributing factors for suicide disproportionately impact women and girls. This includes higher rates of violence (intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child sexual abuse and human trafficking), poverty, and limited employment opportunities. Substance use, depression, and anxiety are other contributing factors.

It’s important to remember that suicide is a complex problem with multiple contributing factors. It involves thoughts (suicidal desires — wanting to not be alive) and suicidal ideations on a range from: 1) not having a plan for suicide; 2) identifying a method of suicide, 3) having a method and some intent, to 4) having a method, intent, and a plan).

Suicide also involves behaviors. These can include non-suicidal self-directed violence (behavior deliberately resulting in or having the potential for injury to  oneself with no evidence of explicit suicidal intent). Behaviors can also include suicidal self-directed violence (non-fatal suicide attempts; interrupted or aborted suicide attempts; preparatory acts such as acquiring means, giving away possessions, etc.; and talking about wanting to die or suicide).

Talking about suicide with someone does not put the idea into their head; that’s a myth. Learn to: Talk to a Friend About Suicide. You may save a life.

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